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Poland's infrastructure fund to start in second quarter
January 29, 2013 / 5:58 PM / 5 years ago

Poland's infrastructure fund to start in second quarter

* State stakes to finance investment vehicle

* Fund to be floated in future, EBRD may take stake

* Projects include roads, energy sector investments

By Adrian Krajewski and Pawel Bernat

WARSAW, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Poland’s new fund designed to support economic recovery and growth by investing in large infrastructure projects will start operating in the second quarter, a minister told Reuters.

Poland, the largest beneficiary of European Union funds, wants to secure financing for infrastructure investments of up to 500 billion zlotys ($161 bln) until 2020, but is uncertain on how much funding it can secure in the next EU budget.

The fund - Polskie Inwestycje Rozwojowe (PIR) - was been flagged already last year. It will use funds from the privatisation of state companies to finance a range of investments, particularly in the energy sector and the building of roads.

Deputy Treasury Minister Pawel Tamborski said the vehicle will act like a development bank, such as the EBRD. He added that Poland would aim to list its shares on the Warsaw bourse and could see the EBRD taking a stake.

The government spent almost 100 billion zlotys ($32 billion) in recent years to build roads and stadiums ahead of the European soccer tournament last year.

The spending helped Poland remain the only EU member to avoid a recession in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

With most assets already sold off, Poland set this year’s privatisation income goal at 5 billion zlotys, compared to 9.2 billion zlotys raised in 2012.

“Starting 2014 we will no longer be drawing up privatisation income goals,” Tamborski said. “We should, however, see around 2 billion zlotys flowing in from dividends annually after 2014.”

The fund also allows Poland to raise debt independently, as it will not be counted towards Poland’s borrowing.

The government will also allow it state lender BGK to invest in long-term projects as a debt provider, complementing PIR’s role as an equity partner.

Countries such as Germany and South Korea have also turned to their state-owned development banks to help their economies.

Poland has approved moving minority stakes worth 11 billion zlotys in four state-controlled companies to PIR. These include stakes in top Polish utility PGE, leading bank PKO , insurer PZU, and chemical group Ciech .

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